Liquid Ink

The official website of Gint Aras, Finalist 2016 CWA Book Award

Creativity and Mental illness


I was very pleased to read this article from the BBC news, the headline: Creativity ‘closely entwined with mental illness’. It suggests rethinking how we view illnesses, as some traits of mental illness are desirable. I actually believe that sometimes they’re flat-out enviable. I have in mind how Michael Burry’s Asperger’s syndrome left him obsessed with research and analysis of market data that, combined with some courage and guts, left him enormously wealthy.

I am not comparing myself to Burry, except to say that I have traits people consider problematic. When people find out I have PTSD, and when they hear  stories about my childhood, they make striking conclusions. The most common are “You’re too sensitive,” and “You’re too intelligent” followed by “You think too much.” When I face those comments, I might actually surge with rage on the inside. But I’ll claim to agree: “You’re probably right.”

Am I thinking too much? Am I guilty of hyperbole when I put those dots together and come up with this: “If you were dumber, less insightful and a bigger asshole, you woudn’t be suffering from an anxiety disorder.”

Is there any other conclusion? Could this realization be why writers, if the article is correct, are twice as likely to commit suicide?

4 thoughts on “Creativity and Mental illness

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I invite you to visit my blog I believe you will enjoy my wisdom magazine.

  2. It could be offered that those of us who have experienced depression and trauma and are therefore more likely to entertain thoughts of suicide are more likely to become writers, as a means of self-therapy. Or as a way of expressing ourselves in a safe manner.

    Sort of a chicken vs egg argument, I know.

    Does the introspection required for creative writing make us more likely to suffer depression, or do we write because of those experiences?

    Great article, and either way, I agree, those of us who have first-hand knowledge of childhood trauma do tend to be more creative.

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